Category Archives: Reviews

Lunaception: Putting the Moon Back Into Your Cycle

When I first heard the term ‘moon’ used as a synonym for ‘menstrual cycle,’ I was living at a commune and spent my days roaming the wilderness, listening to birds and watching wildlife.  I didn’t question or put much thought into what it really meant to link a woman’s menstrual cycle with the moon and the lunar cycle, I just kind of accepted the term.

Now, years later, I realize that I was taking for granted the closeness I had to nature and the earth in that lifestyle.  So many urban and suburban women live bustling lives filled with schedules and walls, blocking out much of their relationship to nature, and potentially affecting their bodies in unintended ways.

The concept of ‘lunaception’ is a strategy to bring women and their menstrual cycles back into communion with the earth, by allowing the moon’s cycle to regulate one’s own menstrual cycle, as many people believe has been the norm throughout history.

The link between the moon and menstruation isn’t in any way proven, but it’s very commonly and historically believed to be a strong and important relationship.  The idea is that in the past, our lives were lived more outdoors, and we were exposed to moonlight more regularly than we are today.  By blocking out the moon’s light at night, women have lost their connection to it, and have lost the regularity that it provided.

In the 1975 book Lunaception by Louise Lacey, the author suggests that before our lives became dominated by the invention of electricity, women’s menstruation was directly related to the lunar phases.  She posits that the onset of a period usually coincided with the new moon, and the fertile days coincided with the full moon.  She also suggests this caused most women’s periods to occur generally at the same time as one another.

Ideally, the way to correct this detour from nature would be to Continue reading

Film Review: A Walk to Beautiful

Imagine urine and feces dripping from your vagina and down your legs as you go about your day, laundering and cooking and childrearing.  Imagine being divorced because you can no longer make love, and being made to live in a hut behind your family’s home because your stench is too strong.

"The World Health Organization has called fistula "the single most dramatic aftermath of neglected childbirth", estimating that more than 2 million women live with fistula worldwide."

Somehow, the stunning documentary  film A Walk to Beautiful manages to shine a beautiful and powerful light on this humiliating situation.  These stories are a tragic reality for thousands of impoverished women who suffer from Vaginal Fistula, a condition caused by prolonged childbirth.

Among these thousands are five exceptionally pretty Ethiopian women whose stories are told in A Walk to Beautiful.  One of them has been living in isolation because of her condition for six years before she hears about a special hospital that cures women like her.  The award-winning film thoroughly and artfully documents these women’s emotional and physical journeys through the healing process.

For women in developed nations, Vaginal Fistula is an uncommon complication.  Here in the U.S. Continue reading

Now Available: Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind #3

The world is lucky to have another issue of Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind in its midst.

Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind #3 is the third issue of a zine geared toward the non-parent radical community about how to be an ally to the parent(s) in their midst. The series of zines will culminate in a book which will be a collection of some of the best minds out there on childcare and parenting.

The new issue is 41 pages of ways to support families in radical and social justice movements, including:

  • organizing the Kids’ Track at the Allied Media Conference
  • ways to support single mothers of color
  • an interview with Diana Block on raising children while underground
  • what other organizers can learn from La Leche League
  • Kidz’ City!
  • holistic first aid for all ages
  • babyproofing for punks
  • and much much more!

This issue is the first to be available for free download!  Read it here.

New Documentary Film ‘Guerrilla Midwife’ Chronicles Indonesian Midwifery After the Tsunami

Along the fragrant streets of Bali and desolate Acehnese refugee camps of the Indonesian Archipelago, Ibu Robin – A Guerrilla Midwife – perches over the red lips of volcanoes and finds herself at a time where midwifery is put to the test, when there is no technology right at the epicenter of the Earthquake and the bowels of the December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami in a culturally mesmerizing, heart-wrenching, epic documentary to show why we must change our protocols for pregnancy and childbirth back to a gentle, natural method, if our planet is to survive the dominance of mankind.

I’ve scoured the internet for any sign of a U.S. showing of this film, but alas, I am still waiting for my chance to learn about midwife Ibu Robin Lim as she supports birthing women in post-tsunami Aceh, Indonesia.  

The film has been making its way around the world, winning award after award at an amazing array of film festivals.  I’ve contacted the director, Deja Bernhardt, for information about its U.S. release.  For now, watch the trailer at the official website and help promote the film via its Facebook page.

Film Review: “Out of the Mouths of Babes,” Research on Birth & Womb Memory

This 1970’s documentary is virtually nonexistent–you can’t find it on Google, your library doesn’t carry it, and your college professor has never heard of it.  But it’s a fascinating exploration of a peripheral element of birthing that’s nearly never addressed.

The video documents research done from 1975-1981 by Dr. David Chamberlain on birth and womb memory. The research team used regressive hypnosis to explore 100 subjects’ memories of actually being born and their perceptions of the birth experience.  There are examples of mothers and their children who had never discussed the child’s birth experience before, yet while under hypnosis, the adult child recounted detailed memories of being in the womb and being born, that match the mother’s account of events. Continue reading

Book Review: Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin

The book Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin serves as an inspirational read for those called to birth work, a basic handbook for the beginning midwife, and an intimate glimpse into the birthing culture of the 1970’s.  The inclusion of innumerable first-hand birth stories, written by the childbearing women themselves, lends the text an authenticity that is genuine and unquestionable.  It is fantastically written, emphasizing language outside of the clinical jargon normally used to describe childbirth, and bringing an elusive topic back into the realm of the accessible.  The author was courageous in publishing a text that was such a dramatic departure from the established norm in the childbirth professions of the time.

The book is basically divided into two sections, the first of which contains seemingly endless pages of first-hand accounts of childbirth.  These pages of honesty and colorful experience are Continue reading

Book Review: “Placenta: The Gift of Life” by Cornelia Enning

The book “Placenta: The Gift of Life” by Cornelia Enning, explores the cultural context of placenta medicine and gives 15 recipes for use of placenta in homeopathic remedies. The text was informative and engaging, but seemed to lack in organizational structure and thoroughness. Despite any technical problems with the text, though, Enning has done an immeasurable service to women’s healthcare by preserving these recipes and re-igniting the public dialogue about placentophagy. As this book is one of the only–if not the only–readily available published texts on the topic of placentophagy, it holds the quality of being almost a novelty in and of itself.

Continue reading